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TrustPower Windfarm Expansion Makes Solid Progress

TrustPower Windfarm Expansion Makes Solid Progress

The expansion of TrustPower's Tararua windfarm from 48 to 103 turbines is making solid progress, according to Community Relations Manager Graeme Purches, with the first of the new turbines on target for commissioning in before Christmas.

"Contractors have completed the excavation of all foundations, and poured the concrete in more than half of them. In addition, backfilling and site preparation has been completed for 25% of the turbine sites, ready for tower and turbine erection."

Mr Purches says six towers are now partially erected on the site, with the first compete tower to be lifted into place next week. Other milestones scheduled to occur before the end of November include the delivery of the first turbines, the arrival on site of two 100 tonne cranes, the pouring of transformer foundations, and the erection of turbine controller buildings.

"During the last half of November, all contractors will be on site, with a total workforce of around 45 people. At this point we are well on target to have the first turbines running before Christmas, and the entire project competed before winter 2004. The only risk of any delay at this stage looks to be our friend the wind - while we want plenty for electricity generation purposes, it will not be possible, for safety reasons, to erect towers or turbines if winds are at the upper end of the scale."

Wind power is now the fastest growing form of electricity generation in the world, yet in New Zealand, less than 0.5% of power is wind generated.

At 32 MW capacity, TrustPower's Tararua windfarm is already the largest in Australasia, and the $60 million expansion will more than double its output before winter. The addition of a further 55 turbines was made possible due to the Government's early granting of renewable carbon credits, which recognised the windfarm's assisting New Zealand to meet its obligations under the Kyoto climate change protocol. The expansion will offset approximately 70,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, and provide electricity for a further 16,000 homes.

The Tararua site is regarded internationally as one of the best in the world for wind generation, with the existing windfarm boasting a utilisation factor of 45.7%, considerably above the world average.

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